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.32ACP vs .380ACP

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by High Altitude, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. High Altitude

    High Altitude

    Nov 19, 2005
    I want to buy a pocket pistol but am wondering about the difference between these two rounds.

    Is there a significant difference in how each of these perform?

    Any good ballistic information out there for them?

    Opinions most welcome.
  2. texmex


    Nov 29, 2004
    Central Texas
    32 Automatic 71 gr. velocity fps energy ft lb
    Full Metal Jacket Muzzle 905 129

    380 Automatic 95 gr. velocity fps energy ft lb
    Full Metal Jacket 955 190

    The 380 shoots a bigger heavier bullet faster. While neither one is a power house, the 380 does have the advantage of bullet diameter, bullet weight, velocity and energy. Since the handguns that shoot them are virtually the same size, why choose a smaller slower bullet? I own several 32s and a couple of 380s. At my agency, 380 is approved for backup or off duty use. 32 is not.
    LASTRESORT20 and fastbolt like this.

  3. In the book "Stopping Power" by Marshall and Sanow, 2001 edition, they say that the 32 auto has an oddity of having surprisingly high stopping power! :wow:
    His results and statements are from actual shootings. He goes on to say that the 32 is much less effective than the 380 acp. I sometimes carry my PPK/S in 380 and like it very much!
  4. I have the Keltec P32 and enjoy it; is there a noticable difference in recoil with the P3AT?

    Do I really need another mousegun?
  5. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I have the P3AT. I carry it when I can't conceal anything else.
    packinaglock likes this.
  6. GlockArmed


    Feb 1, 2007
    I've not fired either, but according to everything I've read or been told about them, there is a significant difference.

    On paper the .380 is superior in every way. In practice -- just my opinion -- there's probably not much difference. Neither round works well with hollowpoint ammunition. By that I mean neither bullet is heavy enough to ensure both expansion and adequate penetration. (12 inches/gelatin) So you will want to use FMJ with both rounds. With the .380 you get a slightly larger bullet, but with the .32 you typically get an additional round in the magazine. So I see them as about equal.

    Whatever you do, don't get a .25. You'd be better off with a knife. I have read several reports of .25 acp bouncing off human skulls. :shocked:

    MURRAY Millennium Member

    I have a p32 I carry when I cant hide anything else and also as BUG love it and it shoots well for what it is I just carry euro ball in it.
    JMag and D-GLOCK17 like this.
  8. David_Ely

    David_Ely GAP'r

    Jul 3, 2008
    Okemos, MI
    I figure if the .32 PPK was good enough for James Bond, it should be good enough for me . . . NOT! :rofl: The .380 seems to be "minimum" acceptable size for self defense according to the "experts". A .32acp would be better than nothing though. And I would stick with FMJ to assist with getting the needed penetration to hit vital organs. I would like to have a pistol in .32acp for plinking but I doubt I would ever carry one for self defense.
  9. Chase7


    Mar 8, 2006
    Both calibers are ok for deep cover mouseguns.
    I actually like 32acp in small light pocket guns like my KT the recoil is pretty much nil(very rapid fire is back on target immediately) and is Much less susceptible to any form of limp wristing do to a less than ideal grip(SD), single hand shooting etc.. often carries a little higher capacity ..and is still capable of around 150ft-lbs out of a 2.5"bbl with Hot ammo(much better than a comparably sized .22 or .25)

    In larger ppk sized pistols and Buffalo Bore ammo the .32 will hit over 200ft-lbs (220fpe) ..not bad

    But why would you settle for a 32 when a 380 can stop trucks and elephants :whistling: :supergrin:
    JMag likes this.
  10. michael t

    michael t

    Jul 3, 2004
    out back Ky.
    in Ket tec size I don't really see much difference I bet BG couldn't tell you which one you just shot him with. I have both the 380 and 32's 380 has more recoil but not much more power from these short barrels.
    Lokie gives the 32 from a KT 1008fps 8.2 inches .435 expansion Corbon HP
    brassfetcher got this from KT 380 9.4" (corrected). Expanded diameter was 0.558". They didn't giveFPS This was Corbon DPX
    Most people say use ball in either.
    Vodoun da Vinci likes this.
  11. Retseh


    Dec 18, 2007
    His statistics also indicate that a .32ACP loaded with Silvertips is a more effective self defence load than a 1911 loaded with plain FMJ - FACT.

    LarryNC likes this.
  12. NDGlock

    NDGlock OIF2, KFOR12

    Jul 22, 2001
    North Dakota
    Just use "Extreme Shock" ammo and you should be fine.

  13. Marshall goes on to say that this result is "Extremely controversial and arguable". He says that for the 32 auto the Fuller Index is used, as compared to Marshalls own index using actual shooting results, and rates the results for this caliber much lower - FACT.
    He also says that the 380 auto is much more effective than the 32.
  14. REC


    May 2, 2007
    Your best with either the .32 or the .380 is ball ammo. Neither have the power to drive an expanded hollow point to an adequate depth consistently or reliably.
  15. Fiery Red XIII

    Fiery Red XIII Adorkable CLM

    Sep 20, 2006
    have you seen some of the slim 9mm's? Walther PPS, Kahrs, etc? Very small, I had the pleasure of shooting a PPS recently...not much bigger than the others mentioned. Single stack 7+1. Very controllable.

  16. J.P.

    J.P. Intergalactic

    Apr 6, 2002
    I don't think the statistics indicate that at all......I believe they are speaking of rounds within a particular caliber.
  17. Retseh


    Dec 18, 2007
    Stopping Power, 2001 - Page 300

    Winchester Silvertip .32ACP - OSS percentage = 66% out of 151 shootings.

    Stopping Power, 2001 - Page 310

    Remington 230gr FMJ .45ACP - OSS percentage = 62% out of 151 shootings.
    Winchester 230gr FMJ .45ACP - OSS percentage = 62% out of 209 shootings.
    Federal 230gr FMJ .45ACP - OSS percentage = 62% out of 215 shootings.

    How else can you read that?
    bnlchris18 and walt cowan like this.
  18. Retseh, reread pages 20 and 21 or better yet read the entire chapter on the 32 auto. If you believe this are you carrying a 32 auto?
  19. glock2740

    glock2740 Gun lover.

    Jun 19, 2008
    NW Ark.
    LCP .380 hands down over ANY 32ACP.
    ucfgrad93 likes this.
  20. Cross-X

    Cross-X CLM

    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Get a more manly caliber: .38 Special, 9mm, or the mighty .45.

    Don't mess around with those other shoot to wound calibers. This is your life you're talking about.